“It’s not the name they call you, it’s the name you answer to.” – Fred Allen
I’ve spent the morning reading about Eartha Kitt, who sadly passed away yesterday. I’m sure you remember her as Catwoman #2 from the Batman television series. She was the Catwoman with the arresting voice. She was only in 3 episodes, but she will forever be remembered as the sexy, raspy voiced Catwoman.
What I DIDN’T know is what all this beautiful lady had to overcome in life. She was born in South Carolina in 1927, the result of a brutal crime. Her mother, a sharecropper who was of African-American and Cherokee Native American descent, was raped by a plantation owner.
Her mother (for reasons I guess only she understood) gave her daughter up. By the time she was 15, Eartha had dropped out of school. Without a home or family to call her own, she slept at friends houses as well as the subway.
Eartha’s was obviously a life that could have gone a hundred different directions, but equal parts talent and fight made her a household name. If that isn’t inspiring, nothing is.
She landed on her feet… her dancing feet… in Paris and became the talk of the town. None other than Orson Wells called her, “the most exciting girl in the world.” She then found work in Hollywood, including the seductively memorable role that made her famous: Catwoman (1967-1968).
When I read about Eartha Kitt this morning, the quote at the top of the post came to mind.
What people think of us counts little compared to what we think of ourselves. And what others see when they look at us means very little when it stands beside what we see when we look at ourselves.
Can you picture it? A young girl in Harlem (where Eartha lived for a while) refuses to be a discarded child that nobody wanted to call their own. She didn’t see a child of rape when she looked in the mirror. At a time when race was on just about everyone’s mind, she didn’t see a race. She certainly didn’t see a little girl that needed pity.
She saw a star.
Look at the last print of Eartha, below. She stood before the Queen of England!
More Eartha Kitt Photographs and Art Prints: